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Words Madison Should Read Regarding Police Shooting Of Black Man Friday Night

March 7, 2015

I have been reading Facebook today and making note of all the posts and comments regarding the 19-year-old black man shot and killed by a Madison police officer last night.  One far and above all the others connected with me and makes for the rational center that I hope we as a city can move towards in the days to come.  As such, I want to post in its entirety the words of Carmen Eestelle who has consented to have her words placed on my blog.

Since I’ve lived here I’ve taken notice of the overall lack of regard for police authorities by much of the community. When a man robbed my building and the police caught him trying to drive away in our parking lot I was astounded at his behavior. I was surprised he was not shot for the way he was outright-messing with them, being deliberately uncooperative and behaving in a threatening manner, as though he had a gun. Living near 2 liquor stores and a gas station I see public/police interactions frequently. People are constantly challenging police in this city and not cooperating with them, nor using good sense. I see it and hear about this all the time. It has even become a way that certain sub-cultures here in Madison earn street cred. That should certainly be examined and addressed as a concern.

Whether or not you have done something, cooperating with the police is the safest, smartest thing to do. Right? They are our public protectors, don’t behave suspiciously, aggressively, or threatening toward them. They put themselves on the line everyday, they should be able to keep them selves safe, as well as us. Ultimately people need to better govern their behavior, to behave responsibly. In my experience the police here are far more tolerant than in other areas of the country.

Though it is now known that he was unarmed, that doesn’t mean that there was not reason to think otherwise last night, or that he was not behaving as a threat. It also does not discount that police are armed and cannot allow a gun to be taken from their possession. And because he was black does not mean that is the reason he was shot.

It is tragic that he died. His poor family. But how much worse does it make this situation if he did in fact, come at the officer? And that if he were to have been cooperative this would not have ended in such a way?

I also acknowledge there is racism here in Madison however having that be a default response to things eliminates the opportunity for a thorough examination of all relevant and contributing factors.

Just as making assumptions about people because of their race is flawed, making assumptions about this incident because is involved a black man is also flawed.

I think until the hard facts are released all that can be accessed it that this is a terrible event.

I think it is a wake-up call to people about how they conduct themselves when interacting with police.

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